Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bacterial Toxin Kills Cells By Preventing Their DNA From Replicating

In an article from ScienceDailyresearchers at Vanderbilt University finally  came to an understanding as to how the bacterial toxin, yatakemycin (YTM) functioned. It is made from the soil bacteria, specifically the Streptomyces familyAlthough what is found to be interesting, is that the toxicity of the bacteria is potent against tumor cells. How YTM works is by attaching to the DNA with a single covalent bond and weaker polar interactions. Therefore, making it harder to find with nucleotide excision repair (NER) enzymes because of it stabilizing the DNA. Streptomyces bacterial developed a very unique emzyme that works as base excision repair enzyme(BER) which fixes tiny lesions and these enzymes are called DNA glycosylase.  

Gene Editing on Ants

An article from Discover Magazine wrote about a science research team from New York University on the testing of ants with a gene modification tool called CRISPR. CRIPSR has been the face of genetics recently because of the wonders it's capable of doing. With the support of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the science team are not conducting some ordinary ant study, they are focusing on how ant colonies successfully organize and execute difficult tasks.  The research team had used the CRISPR to remove a single gene code that is crucial towards the translation of a protein correlated to the working of olfactory receptors in Indian jumping an
ts. When the gene was removed, the ants were unresponsive to sense of smell, a trait which is passed in future generations. With this sense removed, it is observed that this was very important in the life of an ant. Also the Indian jumping ants' brains were changed as well. A fraction of 'glomeruli', an important factor that processes olfactory information, was shrunk in size on the ants' brains. This as a result affected their organization, which was unusual because ants are known to be very good at organization. These observations were very insightful because it give more information towards the cause and effects with CRISPR technology.

Cancer Immunotherapy May Be Getting a Makeover

Several researchers have high hopers for using cancer immunotherapy as a way to help patients suffering from cancer. At the National Cancer Institute, Nicholas Restifo, M.D. is at the head of a project that combats the use of T-cells to help reduce tumors and put a halt on cancerous cells. The main focus is to look into the genes that are found in cancer cells that are the usually the most aggressive ones causing the cancer. By the researchers figuring this information out they can decide which genes are most crucial to be eliminated by the T-cells. The technology CRISPR was used on tumors found in melanoma cells to halt the replication of the genes in the cancer cells so they could modify the genes to react to T-cells in order to destroy the tumor. The group were able to locate nearly 100 possible genes that could be playing a role in T-cells supressing tumors. They identified a gene, APLNR, which is a protein known as the apelin receptor and has a pro con ability. It can be a factor at times that develops certain cancers but it was also one of the first genes to be found that responds to the T-cells. With the continuation of this study the researchers hope to have an end goal of finding why some patients do not respond as successfully to immunotherapy
as others and how they can adjust their methods to work for those patients as well.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Can Gene Editing Actually Do That?

Can Gene Editing Actually Do That?

By: HEATHER MURPHY Published: AUG. 4, 2017 

Image result for crispr

For the Article, Click Here
Summarized By Rebecca Wiley

Crispr is a new technique used for editing a gene. Scientists have successfully corrected a gene linked to muscular dis-trophy in mice. They were also able to fix mutations. This is just the beginning to what Crispr can actually fix. This article uses a quiz to explain what has been done, is possible, and what is fiction using this technique. Things such as designer babies are impossible since the genes that link to traits such as intelligence are unknown. Crispr cannot make Great Danes into Chihuahuas vise versa. Scientists have already made yeast that glows by inserting the glowing gene from jelly fish into the yeast. They have also created mushrooms that brown much slower then the normal kind.

For more on the Crispr technique Click Here

Cleaning Your Sponges Will Help Certain Bacteria to Thrive Within Them

In a recent study done by Markus Egert, a microbiologist at the University of Furtwangen in Germany, pinpointed 362 different species and 82 billion of bacteria that lived within 14 used sponges. This was performed by looking at the DNA and RNA in the samples. Dr. Egert compared the quantity to the same density found in human stool samples. Sponges are the perfect home for bacteria to flourish especially for a particular microbe called, Moraxella osloensis which can cause infections in people who have weak immune systems. Since the bacteria eats fat, it will therefore excrete fat releasing a musty odor that is caused by its metabolism. When the sponges are cleaned (i.e. microwaving them), researchers still found some of the bacteria left in the sponge, so it is recommended to replace them after a week's use instead. 

Genome sequencing shows spiders, scorpions share ancestor

Researchers from the i5K project have analyzed the genome of the common house spider and the Arizona bark scorpion. The researchers discovered that the copies of spider genes which show differences when they’re expressed. This may give us a better understanding about how the organisms breath, produce venom, and how they produce silk. They have also identified a whole genome duplication during the evolution of the two arthropods, and it’s said that they evolved from a common ancestor more than 400 million years ago. The finding of a whole genome duplication in spiders and scorpions allows a comparison to the genome duplications that occurred in the origin of vertebrates. This discovery could possibly help reveal processes and certain genes that have been critical in human evolution.  


Make Tomatoes Great Again

Studies have shown that over the last few decades, the taste of supermarket tomatoes has changed and become less flavorful.  Professor Harry Klee has been doing research on tomatoes for years to try and fix the problem, which he foresees happening within a few years.  Tomatoes are chemically made up of three primary components: sugars, acids, and volatile chemicals.  On average, people prefer sweeter fruit; farmer's prefer bug fruit because they get paid by the pound.  This has become a dilemma because a tomato plant can only produce a certain amount of sugar through photosynthesis.  The sweetness also depends on other chemicals as well; researchers have identified 26 genes involved in producing flavorful volatiles.  They found that modern tomato varieties had versions of the genes that produced smaller amounts of the volatiles.  They have already begun working to breed a hybrid that restores flavor and retains the traits for a large size.  Although genetically modifying the tomatoes would be quicker, researches have chosen to take a natural route since most people fear the words "genetically modified organism." For people who garden at home, in exchange for a ten dollar or more donation, Dr. Klee will send a packet of these seeds.  Taste-testing is hard because everyone has different preferences; however, Klee believes they are making progress.

A Possible New Hope is On the Horizon For Those With Mental Illness

Through genetics many traits are passed down both physically and mentally; categorizing depression and bipolar disorder as a gene that can be inherited is not as far fetch as some many believe. A study on whether these disorders can be found in ones genes will be conducted by a genetics company 23 and Me along with assistance from Milken Institute and company for pharmaceuticals known as Lundbeck. These companies hope to acquire data from 15,000 people with depressive disorder and 10,000 people with bipolar disorder, all who have been medically diagnosed. To be looked at other than just the genetic aspect of the person will be their cognitive reaction through completing a total of 9 surveys online that will be given monthly. For the researchers to gather data on possible phenotypes that could cause these disorders, each person involved with submit a swab of salvia that will be studied. These companies understand that all cases of each disorder may not be from genetics since it is known already that many are due to environmental factors but looking into the possible cause in genetic reasoning could be groundbreaking still. From this project the researchers hope to be able to come up with potential therapies that could help people who suffer from these disorders. The companies are readying the necessary requirements for this project and currently are looking for applicants that would like to use information on their disorder to possibly help others going through the same hardships in the future.